IWTYAL 099: How to cope with a different alphabet

Isabelle asks: “I’m learning Korean, but I’m slow at reading. How can I improve?”

In this episode:

  • An unfamiliar alphabet can be off-putting
  • Some alphabets present significant challenges (e.g. Chinese)
  • Korean is relatively easy – only 24 characters
  • The pronunciation is reflected in the characters (unlike Chinese, for example)
  • Learn all the characters and associated sounds at the beginning
  • Improving is really just a question of practice
  • Keep away from romanisation
  • Persist!

Resources mentioned in today’s episode:

Your Homework!

Help me create an amazing feature for the 100th episode!

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  • Milena

    I am learning Gujarati (one of Indian languages) and its characters are very difficult. On one side because in many cases they look pretty similar, on the other hand though there is plenty of them. There are basic vowels and consonants and then you go into field of conjuncts so as you can connect almost any characters, the number of combinations is unbelievable. What I am doing – I am spending a lot of time to get them right and remember them, I don’t rush it and don’t learn too many at the same time. Only when I am confident I can recognise certain characters I go to the next one. It takes me already over 3 months, but I feel confident and can already read simple words. I know once I finish this long and painful process I will be able to read and write and learn from purely Gujarati texts (maybe even school books).

    • That’s very cool, and what a beautiful language! I’m sure the pain will be worthwhile in the end! Good luck!